Meet the ‘village’ of volunteers who helped make the LA Marathon’s return possible (and picked up the trash) – Daily News
The rush of race day culminates when thousands of Los Angeles Marathon runners taking their positions at the starting line with thundering roars of support from loved ones echoing in the background. In a flash, the athletes are off on an adventure to Century Park but they leave behind a trail of junk that must be cleaned.
Fortunately, race organizers have the unsung heroes of the day: hundreds of volunteers.
Donning blue shirts that matched the personal protective equipment they wore this year, Los Angeles Marathon volunteers were seen on the track from dawn ‘til dusk handling responsibilities relating to the experience of fans and runners alike. Coronavirus concerns resulted in a smaller field of runners during this year’s marathon but that didn’t make the job any easier for those who arrived at Dodger Stadium at 3 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 7, to prepare for the big day.
Some volunteers manned water stations and vibrantly cheered alongside race spectators who gathered throughout the 26 mile stretch to cheer on the athletes who had traveled from around the country to be part of the marathon’s return to Los Angeles. Back at the starting line, students like Woodrow Wilson High School – Los Angeles juniors Arizbel Gomez and Chelsea Canales helped athletes find their way to their proper corrals.
Gomez and Canales said in a joint interview they agreed to assist after volunteering at a recent pumpkin run.
“Honestly, it sounded like a fun experience — waking up and then coming with your friends. And I’ve ran the marathon before so it was pretty like cool to see this one happening this year,” Gomez said, laughing at how nervous she was to be a few feet away from elite athletes.
“I agree with her,” Canales said. “I just like volunteering in general,” so venturing around for a few hours scooping up the cheap items of clothing that the athletes had shed on their trail to the finish was not a problem on Sunday.
Race officials explained it’s common for marathon runners to purchase jackets from thrift stores before a race so they can keep warm at the start. Then they dart off and leave behind enough clothing to fill a semi-truck trailer or two.
Luckily, Gomes and Canales weren’t the only Southern California teens tasked with tidying up the mess that was left on the raceway by participants. In fact, 30 members of Monroe’s Police Academy also appeared in the dark of night Sunday to lend a helping hand.
Arizbel Gomez and Chelsea Canales, two Woodrow Wilson Los Angeles juniors, are picking up some of the trash and clothing left behind by the runners.
— Brennon Dixson (@TheBrennonD) November 7, 2021
The group admitted in an interview they were exhausted after a few hours of work but they didn’t let a lack of sleep diminish their spirit for service.
“We came out here to help everyone out and to say thank you to our community,….” said Daizy Tercero, a teen with Monroe Police Academy at Monroe High School.
Tercero’s peers agreed. As did the group’s instructor, LAPD Officer Joel Frias, who realized during the interview at the track that he may occasionally take the group’s work ethic for granted.
“It’s great to have all these kids come out today at three o’clock in the morning,” Frias said, joking some were late but he still appreciates the effort. “I guess I take it for granted because I see them all of the time. And they’re always helping out, putting their best foot forward, and always being part of the community.”
Caneles and Gomez aren’t part of the academy but they said there was no need to thank them for their service. Instead, they were grateful that others decided to join them.
“It takes a village,” Gomez said. “And I think everybody out here realizes that and wants to make the day the best it can be.”
“It was a good day,” Frias added before his group of cadets rushed off to volunteer at a local ranch.
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